In almost every chat that I've done here at Philly.com, and also more than just occasionally on Twitter, I've been asked what 5 players have had the best training camps. Since the media will no longer have more than 20 or so minutes of access to practice each day from here on out, now seems like an appropriate time to tackle that question.
There are a couple different ways to answer it. Do you name players who were unexpectedly good/bad, or do you include the players who we all sort of just expect to be good? I'll do a mix of each.
Also, I'll leave the game performances out of this, since you guys saw the game and can form your own opinions on that.
The best and worst players from Eagles training camp, 2013, in no particular order:
DeSean Jackson: It feels like a day didn't go by in which Jackson didn't smoke somebody deep. Expect a big year for DeSean.
LeSean McCoy: McCoy didn't get a ton of publicity throughout training camp, probably because people just sort of expect him to be great. But Shady is most definitely still Shady.
Jason Avant: Every training camp, Jason Avant is awesome. He's basically uncoverable, however, that may be due in part to the lack of a pass rush, which allows Avant to make 4 and 5 head fakes before coming out of his break. It's just impossible to stay with him when he has that much time. Still, Avant was really good in 11-on-11 sessions as well, and made countless difficult catches. If you take a guy like Russell Shepard, who got a lot of publicity for a having a great camp, and put his camp up against Avant's, it's not even close. Avant had a far better camp. But Shepard is new, and we already sort of know what Avant is, and what his limitations are. But if Shepard had the exact same camp as Avant, we'd be putting that kid in the Pro Bowl.
I just have to give credit where it's due. Avant having a great camp (as he always does) is boring. But he did, so I'm listing him.
Brandon Boykin: While he didn't pick off many passes, Boykin got countless pass breakups all throughout camp, and was by far the best secondary player on the team. It was rare that a receiver made a catch down the field, and #22 was the guy in coverage. He was also the best gunner on punt coverage.
Mychal Kendricks: Kendricks was the best blitzing inside linebacker in 1-on-1 pass protection drills, and he was tremendous in coverage all throughout camp.
Honorable mention: Connor Barwin, Patrick Chung, Chris Polk, Damaris Johnson, Greg Salas, Russell Shepard, Michael Vick, Nick Foles.
Felix Jones: He can't run, catch, pass protect or play special teams anymore. But otherwise, he was great.
Brent Celek: Abnormally high number of drops.
Curtis Marsh: Marsh had a bad camp overall, which was highlighted (or lowlighted) on one of the days the Patriots were in town. Tom Brady completed passes on Marsh again and again, and again and again and again.
Kenny Phillips: He looks absolutely nothing like the player he was when he was in his prime with the Giants.
Jamar Chaney: Don't be surprised if Jamar doesn't survive the first round of cuts.
Honorable mention: Brandon Graham (in fairness, doing things outside his skill set), Jordan Poyer, Everette Brown, Ifeanyi Momah.
Disclaimer: If you'll note, there are no offensive or defensive linemen named above. Because the Eagles had so few practices in pads, and rarely had physical contact on the lines, it was extremely difficult to evaluate OL and DL play in camp, at least in comparison to the other positional groups.